It’s been a while since Missy Higgins has taken the stage – but you wouldn’t be able to tell.
She’s completely at home with us, wearing a onesie even, cracking jokes, even when at first her guitar isn’t quite working right. I look across at the crowd and they’re relaxed too. It’s Sunday afternoon, the sun is setting across the city skyline, people are nibbling at their cheese platters and picnic goodies, almost forgetting that we’re at the zoo.
Based on how the crowd hoots and hollers after the first bar of each song, and how they sing along to all her lyrics, I’d say we’re all repeat attendees. We love seeing Missy Higgins live, we’ve grown up with her and we’ve watched her grow up too.
The first time I saw Missy play was at Sydney University’s Manning Bar and I remember thinking: ‘Yep, she gets it. She gets me.’ She gave melody and poetry to our twenties – our deep first loves, our crushing heartbreaks, our seemingly enormous mistakes, our confusion about our place in the world.
When she plays now, she reflects on the moments she captured so vividly in her songs with the wisdom that only time and space provides. In the pre-amble to ‘Ten Days’ which she refers to as “the most romantic song I’ve ever written”, it’s clear the guy is just a blip on her radar now. The audience laughs, probably because the person we dedicated that song to back then was not “The One” either, and it’s funny now to think about times when you thought it was going to be the end of the world, and then suddenly it wasn’t.
Now Missy’s got a son and I’m looking forward to hearing her take on this time in her life. In her dedicated tune to her little human ‘Song For Sammy’, she sings with new-mum wonder, “How could it be, that those little hands grew inside of me?”
Towards the end of the performance, it started raining and Missy’s performance was unfortunately cut short. It was particularly devastating that she wasn’t able to sing the clear crowd favourite ‘Special Two’. I was hanging out for her lovely ochre stylings for ‘Saaaauuund of woooiiiiite (Sound of White)’, which also didn’t make the cut.
But to be honest, my favourite Missy song is one of her later ones where she reflects on a period of writer’s block during her break to look after Sammy (‘Everyone’s Waiting’). She tells us openly about feeling creatively stunted, unsure of herself and the expectations of her fans. “Everyone’s waiting, but it makes it harder to hear what my heart keep saying.”
No pressure, Missy, we are waiting, but we know it will be wonderful.
Twilight at Taronga Zoo
Sunday 14 February 2016